No, you do not need to be referred to the service by your GP.
I normally arrange an initial 15 minute phone consultation before the first session. The first session is an assessment of 50 minutes to get a good initial sense of your present situation and learn a little about your past, as well as about your hopes for the future. It is an opportunity to say what is troubling you, what has brought you to therapy now and what you would like to achieve in coming.
I will be directed about what we should focus on and make some suggestions about how we might approach it.
I will be happy to answer any questions you have about the process or about the way I work and you can get a sense of what it feels like to talk to me. If you would like to continue to work together, we will normally meet for 50 minutes each week.